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Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training Paperback – March 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Stadion Publishing Co; 4th edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940149451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940149458
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"explains stretching in agonizing detail. The best are the exercise routines. They work. Many martial artists swear by these methods." --Martial Arts Training September 1997

From the Publisher

The fourth edition of STRETCHING SCIENTIFICALLY, A Guide to Flexibility Training (copyright 2003), by Thomas Kurz, is now available from Stadion Publishing Inc. Improved layout and more photos enhance the most up-to-date science explained in practical terms for athletes, instructors, and coaches.

As always, flexibility expert Kurz stresses the correct sequences of exercises and stretches that make up his safest and fastest stretching method. If you teach others, you must know this method. "You have to know when to do which stretch to get the most out of it," Kurz said. "It is like putting on your socks and shoes--what goes on first makes a lot of difference!"

The "Questions and Answers" chapter is bigger and divided into sections such as Injuries and Stretching, Pain or Soreness and Stretching, Age and Stretching, What and When, Sounds In and Around Joints. Kurz also includes a simple test that will let you test your flexibility potential.

Customer Reviews

Information is scattered throughout the book.
The book is truly scientific and every statement is referenced, mostly by sources from former USSR and Eastern Europe.
As the title implies, this is a scientific and somewhat technical book on stretching.
Rich Poley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Wanko on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*** This review is for the 4th edition, superceding my 3rd edition review.
Buying this new edition, especially since I thought the third edition was a good enough start, was a matter of integrity. I'd blistered the editors for not organizing the book well, and took the author to task for some vagaries in his descriptions and the lightness of graphical assistance, i.e. crummy drawings and mediocre photographs.
I can say that the editors improved the book significantly. The organization of the chapters is now more-logical, and it also begins in a very direct, simple manner that gradually adds complexity as you read. Which is fine, since concepts introduced earlier are laying a foundation of knowledge required for the later , extremely scientific chapter on how muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to move your body in three dimensions.
I enjoyed the new edition more than the third, and I was very pleased with the updates and corrections. I believe you still need to invest some sweat to extract any value from this, but I would surmise no one is picking this up for light reading: this is an owner's manual for your body in some respects, and it requires hands-on application.
The fifth star is not forthcoming, and I don't think a fifth edition will change this. The photographs and stick figures you loved to hate from prior editions are still here, and I can't help wonder why the publisher didn't just run a contest at SVA or Pratt for book illustrators.
Still, there's less excuses for readers to employ if they can't figure out a good routine after reading this book, and Thomas Kurz's admonishing commentary is hilarious: I can actually see him as a professor taking some of the dimmer student body to task for not fully reading the relevant material. The FAQ section alone is worth the price of admission.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Rehan Dost on July 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was sceptical of much of what the author had to say but I could not doubt the body of literature he quoted and the scientific studies he quoted to buttress his arguments.

Regardless, I applied his principles and I was astonished at the results especially the non-conventional kicking exercises in the morning with little warm up.

In applying a few simple routines twice per day for less than 10 minutes I was able to dramatically increase flexibility AND strength resulting in much better axe, side, round house and spin hook kicks.

The key to success is applying the principles and routines DAILY.

I particularly liked how he debunked certain myths of stretching especially stretching BEFORE a workout. The body of scientific literature suggests that stretching before a workout is actually detrimental and he is astute in pointing this out.

Some have argued that he does not provide sport specific routines, however, if you read carefully he points you to the correct chapters based upon your interests and allows you to decide which routines would be best for your interests. For example a martial artist who does alot of kicking would want to focus on lower body stretches whereas a wrestler would want to spend some time on upper body flexibility.

In other words he wants you to think about what your goals are and use the routines accordingly. He clearly states which routines are best for various types of flexibility.

This is a must have book for any serious martial artist.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Björn Ahlman on March 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
I you have the time read the first chunk of text, otherwise read only the end.

I would have to agree with one reviewer Fred Mertz, that this book somewhat lacks structure, and that there should be well-organized stretchingroutines for various needs and sports, but despite this i give it 5 stars. I would give it 6 stars if possible. However I think that a great part of this book is the underlying science. I strongly believe that if you know why, you get better results and you can perform your task more determined and confident. Intricate descriptions of ligaments, muscles, tendons, connective tissues, joint capsules etc are in the book. However if'd have it my way, even more science would be added, but still you can get result wheter you know or not the science. The author says; "do not stretch the ligaments" And some people will just respond "ok, I wont" but I would answer "Ok, but why?" But either if you want to know or not, this method works.

Everything that I have read in this book and tryed has worked, its sound like a "loose 50 pounds of fat in 2 weeks with the new revolutionizing orange pill!" (which never works) but this one really works.


Science, science, science. The author/authors truly have a kings understanding of human anatomy and discards old myth about stretching.

To be honest, with the results I have gained, it is the best book (or anything for that matter) I have bought IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. And you can quote me on that.

I cant recommend this book more than anything to people who want flexibility do not get any results.

Björn Ahlman, Sweden, Umeå
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86 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Janet Tamaren on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love biology and am very knowledgeable about the subject, so decided to buy this book because the reviews seemed fine and the author had experimental backing. I am a dancer/gymnast and am always looking for ways to increase my flexibility. However, I was incredibly disappointed and irritated by the author. He belittles instructors, students, and even buyers of his books and videos. He is conceited and puts down anyone that does not do things his way, which makes no sense, because he isn't even that flexible! The only stretch he is good at is middle splits, his right and left splits are not in the proper alignment, and he has bad form in several of his stretches. His forward bend is average at best, his backbend is atrocious--the only thing he can do is middle splits! How can I take stretching advice from someone who isn't flexible??

He calls other instructors "morons" (completely unprofessional), he brags about how he can do all of the stretches in the book without warming up (no great feat considering he isn't very flexible), and even tells someone who read his book and watched his video that he managed to miss the point in a very condescending manner. If a reader does not understand the book, the author should take that responsibility upon himself. The book is vague and concepts not clearly explained. He does not give a stretching regime, only talks about different types of stretching, which isn't helpful for someone looking for a new stretching routine.

I have never been so irritated by an author in my entire life (and I have read a LOT of books). This author is condescending, vague, and conceited. A waste of money.
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